The household is settling down to new routines. It's sad but there is nothing to do about it. I'm discovering some changes:
1. Iza at 10 lbs ate almost as much as Marley (15 lbs) and Ayla (6.4 lbs always) combined.
2. Iza was responsible for 80% of the litter box "product".
3. The waterbowl stays relatively filled.
4. Ayla is moving around the house more often. I did not realize the stress Ayla felt.
5. Ayla ate in the kitchen for the first time in years.
6. Marley is on my lap more often. I did not realize how heavy he is!
7. Ayla purrs more often.
8. Neither Marley nor Ayla will nap where Iza did. I need to launder all those towels.
9. Marley and Ayla sniff around the house at spots that seem unmeaningful to me.
10. I need to completely mop all the floors and vacuum the carpets. Iza had a couple years of tummy troubles and it seemed purposeless to other than "spot-clean".
11. A very detailed Spring-Cleaning would be good for both me, the Mews, and the house.
12. Iza is in the freezer. While clearing the spot where she will join Skeeter and LC, I pulled a calf muscle and can hardly walk, never mind dig. I will have to wait a few days.
13. I miss her purrs, her weight on my lap, her food demands, her presence on the corner of my bed at night, stroking her minklike fur, seeing her napping on her heaty-mat, her constant close nearness to me anywhere I went in the house or outside, her calls to me outside when she lost track of where I was and how she came running over when she learned where I was, and how she just wanted to be near me all the time.
I am not a blubberring mess like I was in Dec 2008 when Skeeter died. The Cats who came before were strays or unwanted who I got as adults. I surely loved them and they at least liked me in return. Skeeter was the first I chose (though it WAS a case of just him to choose). And he was the first who lived with me when I retired and was home all day. So he was also the first cat I experienced daily going outside with me so that I learned so much about his full personality. Those kinds of details matter.
LC was Skeeter's cat. It was deliberate. I got her specifically to be his companion, since most of their lives LC was his only connection to another living creature. Not that I didn't love her too, but she would nap with Skeeter, eat only with Skeeter, and so far as I know, they used the litterboxes together. After Skeeter died, LC connected to me more, but she died suddenly one night (assumed stroke).
Ayla came when both Skeeter and LC were still here. It wasn't a great time for her. Skeeter and LC were bonded and Skeeter was messily dying, so LC was also distressed. And as soon as LC died, I got Iza.
They got along great at first, but Iza grew bigger and stronger and was a bit of a meanie in small ways. So Ayla was happy when Marley came along. But he rapidly grew bigger and began to orient more to Iza. Ayla took over my bedroom as her territory. There were never fights or anything. A 6.4 lb cat can't contend with 11 lb and 15 lb cats.
When Iza had to be brought to the vet for release to the Bridge, I was so very sad and stood there and cried. But I was able to drive home more easily this time. There have been plenty of cries, but not so much of the shock of loss. This time was different. Skeeter failed slowly, but Iza had more medical issues, so it was more of a release. I can't explain it as well as I wish I could, but I think Iza was in more pain than Skeeter was so I couldn't delay. I guess I felt more "kindness" this time.
Every cat's last times are different. Skeeter went very gradually and (I think) it was more mental than physical problems toward the end (my vet at the time assured me he wasn't feeling physical problems). LC literally died overnight. With Iza, it was definitely physical, so it was easier to accept that I had to let her go sooner than later. Her last problems came on her faster than Skeeter's, so the decision was more forced.
Again, I thank everyone who left comments about Iza. They will be cherished for so many years as I still cherish the comments about Skeeter after 12 years and LC after that.
Iza watching a vole hole for a careless mousie to play with...